THE CPP Group has joined the 80 businesses which have made up to 199 places in the York Apprenticeship Challenge.

The employer has taken on eight apprentices, who will be awarded NVQ qualifications in customer service, business administration or team leadership.

They will also retake their GCSEs in maths and English, and gain additional work-based qualifications as part of the programme, which has been set up with training company the RTT Group.

Dan Godfrey, CPP’s UK learning and development manager, said: “We wholeheartedly support the programme. Our eight apprentices are committed, motivated young individuals who we are confident will make a valuable contribution to the York Contact Centre operation.

“In our experience, National Apprenticeship programme candidates are driven, resilient and committed to their job, gaining high levels of personal satisfaction from their placement. And from a business perspective, CPP is rewarded with skilled employees who are more likely to stay and use their experience, skills and knowledge to deliver a better sales and service experience for our customers.”

Siobhan Clarke, learning and development manager at the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA), which created 21 places, said the organisation had completed two rounds of recruitment for its apprentices, and was just about to start a third. She said: “We have been really impressed by the quality of the candidates.

“They are really enthusiastic and committed.

“It has been good to bring people in very early on in their careers and give them the opportunity to develop with us. Six have been here for two to three weeks now and they’re already taking a real part in the work and helping us to achieve our delivery goals,” she said.

Maureen Legge, head of human resources at Limited, which brings together key national organisations working within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) communities, also said their three apprentices were “absolutely brilliant”.

“This was also an opportunity for us to employ locally and give some people the opportunity of coming into careers where they might not have been able to get into. For us, it’s great to bring fresh blood into the organisation. It’s amazing how somebody new coming in sees something from a different perspective,” she said.